My Diagnosis Journey
I’ve struggled with chronic illness since 2013 when I was first diagnosed with lupus. When I wasn’t testing positive for lupus in 2018, I thought I was healed, but my body kept telling me something wasn’t right when 2019 rolled around. After suffering most of that year, I was diagnosed with Devic’s disease (NMO) in October after they found five brain lesions and optical neuritis. Below was a documented moment of my week stay at the hospital when I was officially diagnosed. I am on a treatment plan of a chemotherapy drug (Soliris) through IV infusions biweekly for life (until something new comes my way that’s less frequent). To read more stories within the topic of chronic illness, click here.
Before I started treatment, I suffered from month long migraines, painful loss of sight in both eyes (not at the same time), vomiting, and severe nerve pain. I am half blind now. By the end of the year 2019, I had gained 30 pounds and I suffered immense loss which led to depression and panic attacks. I lost the weight I gained through diet and exercise by the end of July in 2020 which grew my passion for wellness despite living with an incurable illness (photo below). I realized though I can do nothing about my disease, I can do something about how I was responding to it mentally, spiritually, and even physically (without the intention of actually healing myself of disease as I realized this was only wasting my energy). I’m really open + honest about what things work for me in the hopes that it can help others.
My Belief On Sickness + Faith
I know too many stories of people believing a certain diet or lifestyle will produce a disease free life, but they still got an illness. What about those of us that truly try everything in the book and never find healing? This is where my faith in God steps in, and I believe there is a deeper meaning in the trials we face. I always keep my heart in the promise of when God responded to Paul’s prayers for healing not by curing him, but rather by working through Paul’s suffering to draw him nearer to his glory (2 Corinthians 12). Life is about giving God the glory and loving others even in our suffering.
Holistic Belief + Integrative Medicine
Holistic health is about caring for the whole person—providing for your physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs. Because holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person, I believe all forms of health care, from conventional medication to alternative therapies (homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc.) can be used to treat people. I am blessed in my life to have the right doctors who found my rare disease early on and put me on the proper preventative medication. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my conventional treatment, a healthier lifestyle that works for me, and Jesus Christ.